The Wild and Wacky World Of Online Dating

Last month I decided I was becoming a blog-a-holic with too many dateless evenings so I threw myself back into the online dating pool.

And evidently, I wasn't alone.  Not the blog-a-holic part, but the online dating part.

It seems the recession has resulted in an increase in online dating.  Match.com and EHarmony have both experienced significant upticks in members as the economy has foundered. My how times have changed.

It used to be when you said you signed up for an online dating site, you whispered it only to trusted girlfriends, furtively glancing around to be sure no one else heard.  That's because if you dated online it said you were a dating loser, a single reject, a social outcast of the most wretched kind.

Now it's not nearly the big deal it used to be.  After all, there are TV commercials for online dating sites and just like with feminine hygiene products, that alone brought the topic into the mainstream of polite conversation.

So in this latest foray of mine, I signed up for a couple of different online sites.  I picked out pictures, I took compatibility tests, and I wrote out profiles.

Depending on my mood, my online dating profiles can lean toward the sassy side.  That's because I hate those "walks in the park, walks on the beach, walks in the
middle of the street" profiles that consist of list after list of interests that everyone thinks everyone else is looking for.

That's why part of my profile might read like this:

I'm looking for someone fun, who doesn't take himself too seriously and who isn't afraid of trying something new. I'm not interested in marriage but I am interested in warm
companionship and exciting sex--oh wait! Did I really say that!? I
meant to say exciting romantic dinners for two.

As a result I usually get plenty of responses and flirts.  Flirts are cutesy little icons and messages you can send that simply indicate interest.  It's less than an email, but just enough of a message to break the ice.

I'm a big fan of flirts.

Since I posted my profile, I've had two dates.  The guys were fairly pleasant--no serial killers that I could tell.  They both looked like their pictures so they weren't blatant liars.  Unfortunately neither of them was for me.  I exchanged emails with both after our dates but that was that.  My search continues.

Meanwhile I always like to take note of some of the more wild and wacky aspects of online dating.

  • People don't read.  I can write in my profile in big bold letters "I'M LOOKING FOR SOMEONE IN THE NYC AREA" and I'll still get flirts and emails from guys in Louisiana, Florida, California and Texas.  Though the guy in Texas put down his income as $200,000-$300,000.  Him I sent a flirt to because I'm thinking, if he's making that kind of money, he can fly back and forth to see me.  He didn't respond, more's the pity.
  • Guys seem to love taking pictures with their cars, their pets, their boats and their kids, in that order. 
  • Guys who post pictures with disembodied arms around their necks.  You know, where they've cropped out whatever woman was in the picture.  Not cool, guys.  Not cool.
  • Guys who post no picture at all.  What the heck?  I understood that a few years ago when online dating was still kind of new, but come on!  Everybody's got a freakin' camera on their phone!
  • Guys who rant about what they don't want in a woman.  "No drama, no man-haters, no man-eaters, no kidding!"
  • How different online dating sites have their own personalities.  Match.com for example tends to have a picky crowd.  For some reason they feel Match is kind of like a menu.  "I'd like to order a 5'5" woman with a heart shaped face, a slightly upturned nose, chesnut hair, and who can play "Stairway To Heaven" on the electric guitar.
  • Then there are the sites that are a bit looser.  The dating menu seems less specific and the range of guys is a bit broader--fewer white collar, buffed gym rats and more blue collar, couch potato types.  Who like walks in the park.

The blog Kissable Pink has some excellent tips to consider if you planning to try online dating.  My favorite is the idea of meeting face to face for the first time via webcam.   Rebellious Thinker over at Rebellious Thoughts Of A Woman has some great online dating advice for men.  While on the other hand, Judy McGuire at The Frisky has some online dating don'ts for women.

Meanwhile I've flirted and emailed several more guys while trying not to get too caught up in the hunt.  That's because the minute it starts to feel more like work and less like fun, it'll be time for me to back off.

 

Megan Smith is the BlogHer Contributing Editor covering Television and Online Video.  Her personal entertainment blog is Megan's Minute, Quirky Commentary Around The Clock.

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